Intel’s 10nm adventures have been far from successful. After Cannon Lake got canned back in 2018, rumors had started circulating that the company was going to skip the 10nm node altogether. However, the launch of Ice Lake for mobile devices last year reinforced Intel’s intentions to bring the 10nm based processors to the mainstream market. With the ICL-SP parts slated for launch later this year, you’d expect the mainstream desktop (S) and HP laptop markets (H) to get the same treatment. However, that’s not quite the case.
Both the desktop and high-performance markets are going to get another Skylake rehash based on the 14nm node, followed by Rocket Lake. RKL is rumored to be a backport of the 10nm Willow Cove core to the 14nm process. While the Rocket Lake-S parts are almost certainly coming to the desktop market in late 2020, the hi-perf mobility versions haven’t been spotted yet.
Interestingly, we’ve been hearing more and more about Tiger Lake-H. Whether Intel plans to launch these chips in the 45W mobile space along with Rocket Lake-H or separately remains to be seen. However, we now know that Tiger Lake-H will feature up to 8 cores with a base TDP of 45W. It’ll also integrate PCIe 4.0, Thunderbolt 4 and support for LPDDR4x memory.
Like Ice Lake, Tiger Lake will also have AVX512 capabilities and will have a revamped cache system. With Willow Cove, all three levels of CPU cache have been boosted, most likely a response to AMD’s Ryzen 3000 and 4000 lineups.
There’s also some info about Rocket Lake. Apparently, we’ll be seeing the Willow Cove backport on the S-series desktop platform as well as in low-power 15W notebooks. The former will be getting octa-core chips while the latter will be limited to hex-core designs. Still, a decent step up from the quad-core Ice Lake and upcoming Tiger Lake-U/Y lineups (also quad-core).
Rocket Lake is also going to include support for PCIe 4, Thunderbolt 4 and LPDDR4x on the mobile platforms.
Intel’s roadmap is getting more and more confusing. Every generation is composed of multiple architectures and process nodes, and Rocket Lake/Tiger Lake will only make it worse. Hopefully, the performance will be more positive.